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Thread: Please help me. I have a mess.

  1. #1
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    Hi. I need some advice on what I am doing wrong. I am trying to quilt a lap quilt with simple straight lines across it. I have had to rip out three times because of gathers on the underside (pic of mess is attached). I am using a walking foot and I have basted thoroughly. When I start sewing, it seems like the underside of the quilt is moving faster than the top. I tried lowering the tension because the stitching on top seems too tight. However, when I am ripping out stitches, the thread on the back is so easy to pull out. I can pull out one or two inches by pulling on the thread. I really don't know what else to try.

    I'd appreciate any advice on how I can fix this. Thanks so much.

    Karol
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  2. #2
    Super Member jemma's Avatar
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    the back is not stretched enough but sounds like the tension on the machine is not right------2 suggestions 1] make a practice piece and adjust tension etc 2]]basting spray has made my life so much easier--hope i have been some help --- wait for the experts to come in they'l fix it

  3. #3
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    Hello - I'm no super expert, when it comes to machine quilting, however, this is how I would proceed - unpick what you have done and put your quilt aside for a little. From what I can see, it looks like your stitch length is really small, from what you describe, your tension is in need of adjustment. Make up a "play" sandwich using similar thickness fabrics and battings to your quilt...then mess about with that and get it spot on before putting that quilt near the machine (this will save much hair tearing and unpicking). You may wish to check your walking foot is fitted/engaged properly and that your machine is lint free, threaded correctly and good to go. Walking feet are not designed for speed, so maybe that could be an issue, and let the machine do the work, don't pull the fabric through, just guide with your hands. Work from the middle out and smooth and check the underside as you go (sorry, I'm not very good with describing sometimes!).

    I am sure other board members will be able to help, so persevere...and happy quilting.

  4. #4
    Super Member carolaug's Avatar
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    I agree with using the basting spray. that will help.

  5. #5
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    Is the back fabric basted tight?

  6. #6
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    What's basting spray and how's it different from thread basting ?

  7. #7
    Senior Member mosquitosewgirl's Avatar
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    Recently I made a baby quilt that I wanted to quilt on the diagonal. The first two diagonal lines I had the same problem you are having. Then I pinned the sewing lines I drew on instead of basting. When I began sewing, I simply held the three layers very taut and stitched away. Voila! No gathering on the back. Hope this helps.

  8. #8
    Senior Member CompulsiveQuilter's Avatar
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    It's not basted tight enough; has puckers in it already, even before the quilting. Tape your back down taut before you baste. And spray basting is a sure-fire way to keep it un-puckered. It's a spray adhesive that I, and so many people, LOVE. You can buy a brand at Joann's/Hobby Lobby/Hancock's that will do. Follow the can instructions. It's also easier on your back.

  9. #9
    Super Member karenpatrick's Avatar
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    It doesn't look to me like you achored your back good enough when you basted it all together. Did you pin or tape your back down first before you added the batting and the quilt top? I haven't found a basting spray that I like yet so I pin baste. I doesen't look like you basting is close together enough. I pin my backing to the carpet with t-pins to anchor it taut before I add the batting and backing and then pin about every 4 inches. Hope this helps.

  10. #10
    Super Member greenini's Avatar
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    You might also try starching your back before you rebaste. I just did a lap size on my machine using a kind of stiff material that was also starched. Not a wrinkle in sight! Good luck
    And I also like the basting spray.

  11. #11
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    Your backing is not layed out flat enough and the puckers are already there . Spray basting will help but there is the second hand mess of overspray ( glue going everywhere you DON"T want it to go and also the smell....) It also looks like your stitch length is too short.

    Rip out....start over....go slow.....try to enjoy the learning process of quilting. Every new project brings it's own new things to learn!!

    jodi

  12. #12
    Super Member kriscraft99's Avatar
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    oh this is very helpful to me :thumbup:
    thank you
    Quote Originally Posted by earthwalker
    Hello - I'm no super expert, when it comes to machine quilting, however, this is how I would proceed - unpick what you have done and put your quilt aside for a little. From what I can see, it looks like your stitch length is really small, from what you describe, your tension is in need of adjustment. Make up a "play" sandwich using similar thickness fabrics and battings to your quilt...then mess about with that and get it spot on before putting that quilt near the machine (this will save much hair tearing and unpicking). You may wish to check your walking foot is fitted/engaged properly and that your machine is lint free, threaded correctly and good to go. Walking feet are not designed for speed, so maybe that could be an issue, and let the machine do the work, don't pull the fabric through, just guide with your hands. Work from the middle out and smooth and check the underside as you go (sorry, I'm not very good with describing sometimes!).

    I am sure other board members will be able to help, so persevere...and happy quilting.

  13. #13
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    try lengthening your stitch length...maybe 8-10 per inch would loosen that up a bit...put together a small practice piece to work on for awhile so you don't damage your quilt ripping out your stitching...wait until it is going the way you want it then move to the quilt. use the same weight fabrics and same batting (if possible) for your practice piece. personally I hate using the walking foot...i know so many people who use them all the time and will not even consider not using it...i have never had any luck with it i do much better with a regular foot for straight line stitching.
    good luck :thumbup:

  14. #14
    Senior Member Suzi's Avatar
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    First of all - rip out what you have done. Then re-sandwich the quilt, paying special attention to making the backing as taut as you possibly can before laying on the batting and top. Pin every 3 or 4 inches everywhere (or baste - whichever you like). When you begin sewing, have your stitch length set to medium (probably around 8 stitches per inch), use a walking foot and start in the middle of your quilt and work towards the outer edges. My backs looked similar to yours when I first started quilting and the use of the walking foot and heavy pinning and quilting from the center outwards has worked wonders (have not tried basting spray yet).

  15. #15
    Super Member dakotamaid's Avatar
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    Did someone mention walking foot? If not use a walking foot as well and go slow. Walking feet are not for speed.:)

  16. #16
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    When I prepare backings, I press and starch them. Then I lay them out on three tables shoved together (for a large quilt) and use masking tape to stick the backing securely to the table. Then I set my batting on top, smoothing and patting down and finally add my top, pinning with safety pins all over. I also use straight pins placed horizonatally to the seam, lengthwise down my main seams both horizontally and vertically. I stitch these main seams first, to anchor the quilt before tackling any of the interior parts. I use my hands to smooth and feel for wrinkles as I go along. Stitching these main pinned seams first has really helped to eliminate puckers. I occassionaly get a few but this method has practically eliminated them.

  17. #17
    Super Member ssgramma's Avatar
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    Rethread both upper and lower too. Mine stitches loose on the back when the bobbin thread is not going up and over like it is supposed to. I don't know what makes it slip off but it happens mostly after I put in a new bobbin.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Karen's Kreations's Avatar
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    I'm certainly no expert but I have had this happen to me - try increasing your stitch length.

  19. #19
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    baste the quilt again either with pins or spray and i would also release the pressure of the walking foot.

    the pressure is still set for piecing and not quilting.

    you have to release the pressure on the foot when putting thru so many layers.

  20. #20
    Senior Member twospoiledhuskies's Avatar
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    You definately have not basted enough. You need to keep it from shifting from all sides.

  21. #21
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    I agree with all of the previous posts.

    1. Your backing wasn't stretched taut to begin with and starching it will help control puckers and slide through the machine easier.
    2. Spray baste or use pins to tack more closely than you did.
    3. Loosen the pressure on your presser foot.
    4. Increase your stitch length. Quilting is quite a bit bigger stitches than sewing
    5. Practice on a scrap before loading the real deal but preferably a scrap made of the same stuff as the real deal.

  22. #22
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    Like CKCOWL said, the walking foot is not a magic cure-all. It can only work like it is designed to, on a properly prepared base.
    I have one, but am not impressed with it. I can do just as well with regular foot.
    You might find your foot pressure is too heavy for the thickness of a quilt sandwich.
    Longer stitches tend to look neater, too.
    Check your bobbin, again. Sounds like the bobbin tension is not correct.

  23. #23
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenini
    You might also try starching your back before you rebaste. I just did a lap size on my machine using a kind of stiff material that was also starched. Not a wrinkle in sight! Good luck
    And I also like the basting spray.
    I agree, starching heavy on the back would help

  24. #24
    community benefactor p38flygirl's Avatar
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    I agree...Please re do your quilt sandwich and use any brand of quilt basting spray..Remember to do a sample first...Also use a walking foot...

  25. #25
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by p38flygirl
    I agree...Please re do your quilt sandwich and use any brand of quilt basting spray..Remember to do a sample first...Also use a walking foot...
    Along with the other issues mentioned here, I notice that your quilting stitches are running the same direction as your basting stitches.

    Be sure to baste thoroughly and in both directions, side-to-side, and use a walking foot to avoid having your quilting stitch "push" the layer of fabric forward.

    Jan in VA
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